Archive for April 19th, 2021

April 21, 1862; October 16, 1882; and February 3, 1883.

The first was when the act to authorize an university in the Territory of Dakota was signed. The second was the first day of classes. The third was “Charter Day”, which was when the act to provide for the organization and government of the University of the Territory of Dakota was signed.

Information from The University of South Dakota, 1862-1966, by Cedric Cummins, Dakota Press, 1975.

What dates would you pick as important to USD’s history? I would add the date of the first graduation.


An Act to Locate the University of the Territory of Dakota

Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota:

Section 1: That the territorial university of the Territory of Dakota be, and the same is hereby established and located on lot number four, of section twenty-four, in township number ninety-two, north of range number fifty-two west of the fifth principal meridian in the town of Vermillion in Clay County.

Section 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage, and approval by the governor.

Approved April 21, 1862.

W. Jayne, Governor

Act text from Laws passed at the first session of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Dakota, 1862.


Image of the first day of classes from the Digital Library of South Dakota.


An Act to Provide for the Organization and Government of the University of the Territory of Dakota

Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota:

Section 1. Purpose, Tuition, Etc.] The objects of the University of Dakota, established by an act of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Dakota, entitled “An act to locate the University of the Territory of Dakota,” approved, April 21, A.D. 1862, shall be to provide the best and most efficient means of imparting to young men and women on equal terms a liberal education and thorough knowledge of the different branches of literature, the arts and sciences with their varied applications. The University, so far as practicable, shall begin the courses of study in its collegiate and scientific departments, at the points where the same are completed in high school; and no student shall be admitted who has not previously completed the elementary studies in such branches as are taught in the common schools throughout the Territory. No student who shall have been a resident of the Territory one year next preceding his admission, shall be required to pay any fees for tuition in the University, except in the law department and for extra studies. The regents may prescribe rates of tuition for any pupil in the law department, or who shall not have been a resident of the Territory as aforesaid and for teaching extra studies.

Section 2. No sectarian control.] The University shall never be under the exclusive control of any religious denomination whatever, and no instruction, either sectarian in religion, or partizan in politics, shall ever be allowed in any department of the University.

Section 3. How governed.] The University shall be governed by a board of regents, consisting of the Governor of the Territory, who shall be president of the board, the President of the University, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, who shall each be a member of said board of regents by virtue of his office, together with six other competent persons, who shall be appointed by the Governor by and with the consent of the legislative council.

Section 4. Regents, how appointed.] That immediately upon the passage and approval of this act the six persons shall be appointed and shall hold their offices for the term of two and four years respectively, and the Governor shall designate in his appointments the three persons who shall hold their office for two years and the three for four years.

Section 5. Vacancies.] The board of regents shall fill vacancies occurring therein, except when the Legislature is in session; and the persons so appointed shall hold their offices until the next session of the Legislature, when the Governor, with the concurrence of the legislative council shall fill all vacancies.

Section 6. Departments.] The University shall include a collegiate, scientific, normal and such other departments with such courses of instruction and elective studies as the board of regents may determine, and the board shall have authority to confer such degrees and grant such diplomas and other marks of distinction as are usually conferred and granted by other universities.

Section 7. Meetings.] The meetings of the board of regents shall be held at such times as the board may appoint. The president of the board may call special meetings when he deems it expedient, or special meetings may be called by any three members of the board.

Section 8. Finances.] An executive committee consisting of three competent and responsible persons shall be appointed by the board of regents, who shall audit all claims and whose chairman shall draw all orders for such audited claims upon the treasurer, but before payment such orders shall be countersigned by the secretary. Said committee shall keep a specific and complete record of all matters involving the expenditure of money, which record shall be submitted to the board of regents at each regular meeting of same.

Section 9. Erection of buildings.] Whenever any building is to be erected, or extensions, alterations or repairs are to be made in connection with the University, or other improvements, the board of regents shall have authority to procure all necessary plans, drawings and specifications for such building, alterations, repairs or improvements; to advertise for proposals for the erection and completion or performance thereof, in such manner as may be most advantageous, and to contract with the lowest responsible bidder therefor, such contractor in every case to give adequate security for the faithful performance of his contract; to appoint and discharge a building superintendent, who shall superintend the work and perform such other duties as they may require, and receive such compensation as the board shall determine, and to examine and certify to the correctness of the estimates and accounts for work under the contract, and of their superintendent and employes.

Section 10. Secretary.] The board of regents shall elect a secretary, who shall hold his office at the pleasure of the board. He shall record all the proceedings of the board of regents, and carefully preserve all books and papers. He shall countersign and register all orders for money on the treasurer, and the treasurer shall not pay an order on him for money, unless the same be countersigned by the secretary.

Section 11. Treasurer.] The board of regents shall elect a treasurer, who shall hold his office at the pleasure of the board. He shall keep a true and faithful account of all moneys received and paid out by him, and before entering upon the duties of his office he shall take and subscribe an oath that he will faithfully perform the duties of treasurer; and he shall also give a bond in a penal sum fixed by said board, conditioned for the faithful discharge of his duties as treasurer, and that he will at all times keep and render a true account of moneys received by him as treasurer, and of the disposition he has made of the same, and that ‘ e will at all times be ready to discharge himself of the trust, and to pay over when required; which bond shall have two or more good securities, and shall be approved as to its form and sufficiency of its sureties by the board of regents, and also the auditor and secretary of the Territory, and shall be filed in the office of the latter.

Section 12. Rules.] The board of regents shall enact rules for the government of the University, and shall appoint a president and the requisite number of professors and tutors, together with such other officers as they may deem expedient, and shall determine the salaries of such officers, the compensation of the secretary and treasurer. They shall remove any officers connected with the University, when, in their judgment, the good of the institution requires it.

Section 13. Purchase of apparatus.] The board of regents is authorized to expend such sums of money as may be appropriated for the University funds as it may deem expedient, in the purchase of apparatus, library and a cabinet of natural history, in providing suitable means to keep and preserve the same, and in procuring all other necessary facilities for giving instruction.

Section 14. Cabinet.] All specimens of natural history and geological and mineralogical specimens, which are, or hereafter may, be collected by the territorial geologist or by any others appointed by the Territory to investigate its natural and physical resources, or donated by any person, shall belong to, and be the property of the University, and shall form a part of its cabinet of natural history, which shall be under the charge of the professor of that department.

Section 15. Report of president.] The president of the University shall make a report on the fifteenth day of September preceding the meeting of the Legislative Assembly, to the board of regents, which shall exhibit the condition and progress of the institution in its several departments, the different courses of study- pursued therein, the branches taught, the means and methods of instruction adopted, the number of students, with their names, classes and residences, and such other matters as he may deem proper to communicate.

Section 16. Report of board.] The board of regents shall, on the first day of October preceding each regular meeting of the Legislative Assembly, make a report to the superintendent of public instruction, which report, with that of the president of the University, shall be embodied in the said superintendent’s report to the Legislative Assembly. The report of the board of regents shall contain the number of professors, tutors and other officers, with the compensation of each, the condition of the University fund, and the income received therefrom, the amount of expenditures, and the items thereof, with such other information and recommendations as they may deem expedient to lay before the Legislative Assembly.

Section 17. Mileage.] The regents shall receive no compensation except for actual expenses in traveling to and from their places of meetings, and also their actual expenses while discharging any other duties in connection with their office.

Section 18. Franchises heretofore granted to vest in present board.] The said board of regents shall succeed to the custody of the books, records, buildings and all other property, real and personal, of the University of Dakota, incorporated on the 19th day of May, eighteen hundred and eighty-one, under chapter fourteen of the Civil Code; and the present board of trustees shall he dissolved immediately upon the organization of the board of regents herein provided for, and the deed or grant of all of said property, together with all the rights, privileges and franchises of said corporation is hereby accepted, and said deed or grant, is hereby legalized and declared to be and remains in full force and effect; and the grant of land from the United States of America to the Territory of Dakota, made in ” An act entitled ‘An act to grant lands to Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming, for University purposes,’ ” is hereby accepted by this Territory with all the privileges, rights and restrictions in said act provided.

Approved, February 3, 1883.

Nehemiah Ordway, Governor

Act text from Laws passed at the fifteen session of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Dakota, 1883.

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